Introduction to Rights and Licenses

So far we've explored what it takes to find, order, and use archival materials. In this section, we look at the final and often most challenging step: licensing. Filmmakers need to license much of the third-party material they want to include in their films because those materials are owned by someone else—they are someone's intellectual property. Intellectual property issues are complicated, fascinating, and critically important.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO; an agency of the United Nations), intellectual property (IP) “refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.” WIPO divides ...

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